NATE MARCHESE – MAY 19, 2022
As a follow-up to our pre-spring stock down report, we will look at some players who have seen their stock decline in CFF value since spring camps kicked off. This offseason has been incredibly turbulent, considering all the player and staff movement, injuries, and conference realignment. Here are some players that have decreased their value, whether it be via the portal or negative spring camp reports.
Ty Thompson, Oregon
I know there are a lot of Thompson truthers out there. The reality is that his ship has likely sailed for the 2022 season. Most, understandably, have doubts about Bo Nix ever being a successful QB. The fact remains that he was hand-picked by new Oregon OC, Kenny Dillingham. For that reason, I have always had Nix ahead of Thompson in my preseason QB rankings. Initial spring reports claimed Nix and Thompson were splitting time with the 1s. But as they neared the spring scrimmage, reports of Nix primarily working with the 1s have confirmed my initial assessment. Knowledge of the system and experience for Nix would win out over the talent and upside of Thompson.
The spring game further widened the gap between the two as Nix went 8/15 for 230 yards with three TDs and an INT while Thompson struggled his way to a 12/27 for 168 yards with a TD and two INT showing. Having watched the spring game, I assure you the play on the field wasn’t as disproportionate as the box score indicates. The fact remains that Nix was getting the early reps with the 1s.
Lastly, I have concerns with Thompson and his long-term prospects with Oregon. If we assume he is the QB2 for the Ducks in 2022 like we now believe to be the case, then we will have seen him sit for two years behind the likes of Anthony Brown and Bo Nix. Not exactly elite QBs. Who’s to say that Oregon doesn’t bring in another transfer QB next year to compete with Thompson in year three? I am concerned for his dynasty value unless we see a transfer to a QB-friendly system to jumpstart his career.
DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson
I know what you are thinking- “How can DJ’s stock possibly go any lower than where he left it after the 2021 season?”. Let me explain. I had hoped the solid spring practice reports of DJ’s weight loss and improved footwork would make him a strong bounce-back candidate. However, we got a detailed look at him during the spring game, and it was difficult to watch as he went 17/36 for 175 yards with no TDs and an INT. The Clemson D is a juggernaut, and the WR room was depleted. But DJ continued to look broken from a timing and mechanics perspective.
The 5-star true freshman QB Cade Klubnik made several freshman mistakes in the spring game. It’s to be expected from a guy that should be in high school worried about who he is taking to prom. He also flashed enough to make you wonder if he isn’t the better fit for this offense. Dabo saying after the game that “DJ has done nothing this spring to lose his job” when asked about a potential QB competition isn’t exactly the phrasing that inspires confidence in your DJU shares. Furthermore, the offensive line continues to be an absolute mess, and the WR room is struggling to find guys that can separate. DJ’s CFF status has trended from a potential bounce-back option to potentially losing his job.
Dylan Mcduffie, Georgia Tech
If you had asked me early in the spring, I would have said McDuffie was a strong candidate for the stock-up report, not stock down. His strongest competition for bellcow status at Buffalo, Kevin Marks, inexplicably decided to declare for the NFL draft. All signs pointed towards a huge 2022 for McDuffie, but surprisingly he decided to hit the portal and chose Georgia Tech of all landing spots. He leaves a situation of guaranteed high-end volume of 200+ carries in a historically strong CFF RB system. And moves to a program that could barely support a talent like Jahmyr Gibbs. In fact, McDuffie shared the backfield for the first six games but then sounded off to the tune of 26 touches and 130 yards per game with seven TDs over his last six games for the Bulls.
At Georgia Tech, he’s likely to share the backfield with Dontae Smith and Hassan Hall. And play alongside a QB that will vulture some of the rushing load near the goalline. Furthermore, McDuffie now has to play behind the 114th ranked run-blocking offensive line while making the jump in competition from the MAC to ACC play. After this move, McDuffie saw a drop in my RB rankings from inside the top 25 to outside my top 100.
Zach Evans/Ulysses Bentley IV, Ole Miss
Things were just fine when Evans transferred to The Sip, and UB4 was doing his thing in Dallas. Rumors started to swirl that Evans wasn’t interested in a heavy workload to keep the tread on the tires for the NFL. Essentially overnight, Bentley was added to the mix in Oxford. Both are serious talents that don’t necessarily need significant volume to be fantasy relevant because of their propensity to make the big play. However, Evans had been going in the late second round and inside the top-10 RBs off the board in CFF drafts early in the spring. Bentley wasn’t far behind as a top-25 RB selection. So expectations are more than just “fantasy relevance” at that price. With them joining forces at Ole Miss and the potential to cannibalize each other, it becomes hard to justify their current draft capital, and I imagine we see their ADP slide some with Bentley seeing a STEEP decline.
Lastly, Isaiah Woullard and Quinshon Judkins, a freshman RB darling by some at Campus2Canton.com, looked solid in the spring game and provided some added depth for Lane without a significant drop-off. This RB room appears too congested to feel confident that Evans or Bentley will have the volume to be consistent enough on a week-to-week basis.
Kayshon Boutte, LSU
Boutte is a guy that almost found his way onto my pre-spring stock down report, given the coaching change at LSU. The team transitions from a pass-happy system they implemented in an attempt to recreate their 2019 success to the far more conservative system preferred by Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) and OC Mike Denbrock (Cincinnati). Boutte is IMMENSELY talented, but the system change is concerning for a WR getting RD1/2 draft capital early in the spring. Alec Pierce proved to be a freak at the combine and was taken 53rd overall in the NFL draft. He could only average 11.6 ppg in Denbrock’s system. In fact, in his five years as OC at Cincy, he didn’t produce a single WR that caught 65 balls or 900 yards or double-digit TDs. He hasn’t produced even the floor of what you would expect from a first or second-round investment.
Since spring camp has started, various weird things have transpired to make me even more bearish on Boutte. First, we found out that he had additional surgery to follow up on the initial repair of his foot/ankle that ended his 2021 season. This prevented any offseason activity to become acquainted with the new system and potentially put the start of his 2022 season in jeopardy. Multiple surgeries within a few months in the same area are generally a red flag.
Secondly, the relationship he has with Brian Kelly appears to be rocky at best when Kelly had this to say about him in an interview- “I would say I know his last name right now. He’s re-engaging, and we are getting more acquainted every day. This has been a rough spot for him and he’s learning he has to be involved in everything”.
Lastly, the addition of Jayden Daniels at QB likely does Boutte no favors to repeat his previous level of success. Daniels has had issues with consistency in the passing game. He also had an inability to support a fantasy-relevant WR during his time in Tempe, should he win the job at LSU. It will take a 180 in fall camp reports from what we have recently been hearing for me to pony up the capital needed to draft Boutte should his asking price remain that of a top 10 WR.
Corey Rucker, South Carolina
If you have been following me on Twitter since last August, you are well aware of just how bullish I was on Rucker entering 2021. While he certainly had his moments, I admit that things did not go as well as I had projected at Arkansas State. There were nagging injuries, a QB carousel, and underestimating the impact of Blake Anderson moving on to Utah State. Rucker saw his homeboy, Layne Hatcher, move on to Texas State and decided to hit the portal as well.
While I like the fit and direction of the program from a football perspective in South Carolina, this is less appealing in terms of CFF. The Gamecocks have an established WR in Josh Vann, a potential alpha WR that looked fantastic during the spring game in Antwane Wells, and multiple playmaking TE/H-backs in Stogner and Bell. I have yet to see anything from OC Satterfield that leads me to believe he can support all these viable weapons in the passing game. Rucker should see an improvement in QB play with Rattler. Still, I am skeptical it will be enough to offset the increase in competition from Sun Belt to SEC and the potential decrease in volume/opportunity.
Brock Bowers, Georgia
Stock down is totally relative. Clearly, Bowers remains an elite TE. But some things have changed recently, making it hard to justify his current ADP (TE1 and 33rd overall). Bowers missed the entire spring camp due to shoulder surgery. He is expected to be ready for fall camp, but it is still something to monitor. Arik Gilbert returned to TE in his absence and smashed in camp and the spring game. He appears to have regained his original form as the #1 overall player from his class two years ago when he went to LSU.
Georgia also added a top 3 TE from the 2022 class in Oscar Delp. They have a Bowers cloning machine in Athens because I could have sworn I watched Bowers make plays in the spring game every time Delp caught the ball. And I haven’t even mentioned the behemoth that is Darnell Washington. As this article is being written, Washington has not hit the portal and remains a Dawg. That’s a loaded room!
Bowers was potentially being drafted at his ceiling early in the spring, and if that draft capital remains, he is likely being drafted above his ceiling. A regression is far more likely than a statistical improvement in his 2021 season. It is unlikely that UGA can support 2-3 TEs, and Bowers still return value on his current going rate. Bowers is as impressive of a young TE as I can remember. Many things fell into place, like Gilbert sitting out, a Washington injury, and a plethora of WR injuries, that allowed him to break out as a freshman.